So what’s the deal with the flower rugs, tile tables and foam mirrors? We’re bored! Nearly a year homebound will really change how you feel about your space. I discovered my love of maximalism and all things colour. White walls can be jazzed up through a simple change of bedding—who knew?! I swapped my white sheets and duvet for mint green sheets and a lavender comforter. Spending so much time at home I realized how important it is—especially as a creative person—to love your space. Nothing compares to the feeling of being instantly energized by your surroundings.
I love painting my walls. I love it so much that in the last 22 years, I have painted them 8 different times. The last time was white… on top of the preexisting white from the time before. I justified it by telling myself that some of the 2014 blue was coming through and making it a cold white but perhaps I just wanted to paint. I think I may have even shrunken the square footage of my room a tad—worth it if you ask me! From pink-fairy-princess-kingdom to plum-grown-up-preteen to 2013-one-direction-posters and now mature but still fun twenty-something white-but-add-colour-everywhere, me and my room are in an endless tango. One day we hate green and hoop earrings the next day we can’t get enough! Maybe it’s Gen Zs form of commitment issues? But it’s not too serious, it definitely isn’t a crime if you like minimalism on Monday and maximalism on Sunday. Besides, that’s where our dear DIY comes in… because we can’t seem to make up our mind we decide to make what’s occupying our mind.
DIY: Do It Yourself. A phrase traditionally reserved for Pinterest Moms—women over 40 who use Pinterest to craft or upcycle any item in their home—or anyone crafty enough to attempt making something themselves.
In 2021, to DIY has grown into something else; it is a badge of honour among Gen Z; a right of passage if you will. If you’re confused as to how this phenomena shifted from a laughable hobby for moms to the backbone of teen culture; I have 2 words for you; pandemic and TikTok (or boredom or curiosity… take your pick.) With the world in shambles and no glimmer of hope in sight we resorted to the only natural conclusion; making our own light. Creating things that spark joy even in what *feels* like the darkest of times. And an easy entry point for so many of us was (for better or for worse) joining the world of TikTok, making it easier than ever to find our communities (or for our communities to find us). Maximum 60 second videos oversimplify carefully constructed creations and now your average Joe with a hot glue gun is on the scene.
Some of the hottest DIYs right now are chunky rings, kitschy phone beads and just about anything crochet. As a fellow Gen Z-er (if that’s something people say) I have succumbed to all of these trends and loved every minute of it. I’ve come to learn that it’s the process that reels you in with DIY. It’s the time spent crafting the object and the excitement of it all coming together that you fall in love with. Yes, having a handmade ring at the end of it is great, but our affinity for DIY culture extends beyond the item. Being a Pinterest loyalist and longtime fan of The Sorry Girls (Toronto’s original DIY badasses), the reintroduction of DIY culture was natural and long awaited. As DIYs shift from being tacky and impractical to being cool, useful and maybe still a bit tacky (but now tacky is trendy), some of the biggest projects over the past year are the foam mirror, the tiled table and the ICONIC flower rug.
Where do the TikTokers* get it from? That’s simple, really. Designers. But designers are no longer these out of reach figures whose work is only on display for those with wallets that can afford it. They are on Instagram and TikTok. Everything is; the runway, magazines, homes—it’s all there on display and for a certain group, there for the taking.
For many designers in 2021 this is both a blessing and a curse. The platform that assists in popularizing their creations is the platform that promotes dupes and detracts from the original. It just takes the right person to see or wear an item and it’s suddenly viral—a complete game changer for anyone creating anything. I’ve discovered some of my most treasured pieces from half way across the world through Instagram, making my closet better travelled than I am (especially now!) With this access however, comes the inevitable replicas. The major culprits are big name, fast fashion corporations who will take absolutely anything deemed on trend and this SUCKS. Now you also have your average girl-next-door learning how to crochet that sweater so she doesn’t have to drop the $230 you’re charging for the original garment. This equally sucks but for a different reason. Now, to ME this can be harmless and not a breach of DIY etiquette—keep in mind that I’m not a small business owner whose livelihood depends on sales. Where these Jane Doe’s go wrong is when they copy the design in its entirety and decide to sell it for a cheaper price. The casual reseller is profiting off of stolen ideas and presenting them as their own. This thrusts the designs into the mainstream, watering them down and opening them up to more theft as the demand has increased with consumers only concern being for the cheapest price. Again, this is where TikTok comes in. Videos can quite literally blow up overnight, meaning the “DIY Resin Ring Tutorial” you posted inspired by a small business, now has 1.8 million views and 1.8 million people realize they don’t need to support that designer! I guess it could be said that this is a grey area in DIY culture as most don’t make a tutorial with the intention of helping build a business off of it. So what’s the solution to this? Truthfully, I don’t know… is there even a solution? Is this something that will ever go away? All I know is that I will continue to DIY for myself and draw inspiration from my favourite designers. Maybe the trick is to not focus on imitating but emulating. I think I may have just solved all of the worlds problems with that one! Kidding, but you get the idea, inspiration; good, imitation; not so much!
So what are you missing out on? Well, if you’re like me, it’s the badass answer of “Oh, I made it myself.” (all coy) To which the response is usually one of the following; “OMG so cool!” “Can you make me one?” “Wow, how long did that take?” The correct answer to all of the above questions is always “Thank you! It was inspired by !” I’m sure you saw that one coming after everything we just learned! DIY culture is about having fun and experimenting! It’s about doing things for yourself! It’s the latest and greatest form of instant gratification, I PROMISE! Who needs Instagram likes when you can get validation from your own knitting skills?! AND with DIYs you’re in control of the completion; no more checking the tracking info on your package nine times a day. It really lives up to the hype!
Farewell besties! I hope you learned a thing or two and that you walk away from this magazine with an itch that only a DIY can scratch. Or (at the very least) you enjoyed your time reading this! I feel like I need to sign off by revealing the next big trend, but as I said earlier, I’m no trend forecaster! HOWEVER, I usually am pretty early to the game! My walls were white 22 years ago… before it was cool! My last piece of advice; paint your walls, tile your tables, foam your mirrors, bend your candles and add beads to sh*t with your friends! Because who cares! Nothing matters and everything is better when you can say you did it yourself (even if it’s a little ugly!)
Someone who scrolls through TikTok (or rather watches as TikTok scrolls for them). Someone who insists they will only show you one video, until 60 minutes later they realize it’s been a few more than was promised. Someone who disappeared for several of the last 12 months until re-emerging with a new energy on all social platforms sporting baby tees, bucket hats and low rise jeans. By the time you read this, they will most likely be onto the next phase of their fashion chronicles so do not expect to receive that depop order soon enough to actually be with it.
Before I say my goodbyes I figured I should leave you with some gateway DIYs… Here are some of my favs to get you started
WHAT YOU NEED: POLYMER CLAY (OVEN BAKE CLAY), MAYBE, IF YOU’RE FEELING CRAZY, OLD BEADS OR RHINESTONES AND 15 MINUTES (MAYBE POLYMER SEALER TOO IF YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE YOUR PIECES DON’T CRACK) HOW: HAVE FUN! ROLL OUT THE CLAY AND MEASURE IT TO YOUR FINGERS, MAKE A FUNKY SHAPE & ADD IN SOME FUN BEADS! BAKE IT AND ADD A TOP COAT AND YOU’RE OFFICIALLY HOT!
*WARNING THIS METHOD IS EXTREMELY SLOW, ATTEMPT AT OWN RISK. WHAT YOU NEED: LATCH HOOK, RUG CANVAS, 2 COLOURS OF ACRYLIC YARN, SCISSORS & TIME HOW: SKETCH YOUR DESIGN ON THE RUG CANVAS, CUT YOUR YARN TO THE DESIRED LENGTH (PLS WATCH A YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THE BEST WAY TO DO THIS) AND START HOOKIN’ & LATCHIN’! ALTHOUGH THIS METHOD TAKES FOREVER SHE WORKS REALLY WELL AND IS PERFECT FOR THOSE OF US WHO DON’T OWN A RUG TUFTING GUN!
WORDS: EMILY GILMORE
PHOTOS: NOAH GANHÃO
DIY-ERS EMILY GILMORE & MONIQUE ERMES